LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6 -- Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev. (4th CD), issued the following news release:
Today, Representative Steven Horsford (NV-4) spoke to the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) Government Affairs Council, which includes top tech company executives responsible for public policy and marketing.
This week CEA will be hosting the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world's largest annual innovation event, which will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The trade show is estimated to attract nearly 155,000 people and generate $200 million in non-gaming revenue for Las Vegas.
Horsford spoke about the importance of immigration reform for economic growth and innovation. He also spoke about investments to expand all communities' access to technology.
Below is a transcript of Representative Horsford's remarks:
"Thank you for inviting me to International CES 2014. It is truly an honor to be here. Thank you for continuing to call Las Vegas home for this conference. Last year, more than 150,000 people from 150 countries attended. 20,000 products at 3,000 different exhibits were showcased across 1.87 million square feet of floor space.
In 2013, this conference created a non-gaming economic impact of $197.3 million for the city, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. So, needless to say, we continue to welcome you to the state of Nevada.
The world's greatest tech leaders will gather here over the next week, the best companies will be represented, and entrepreneurs and start-ups that will change the world will share their ideas with supporters from across the globe.
From wearables to biometrics, from 3D printing to solar hybrid cars, CES will once again kick off the New Year with an impressive showcase of our high-tech future.
But CES is also more than just a conference. This is a chance for large and small companies, and emerging companies too, to learn from each other about advancements in the tech industry. This is about sharing good ideas and best practices. While tech remains one of our most competitive industries, it is also one of our most collaborative.
You, your companies, and your ideas all push the innovation envelope. It's your job to define the curve that everyone races to get ahead of. As a lawmaker, it's my job to listen. Sometimes that means getting out of the way, sometimes that means catching up to you, and sometimes that means finding new ways to help.
Immigration reform is one issue I have worked on that I know is important to you. I serve as a Co-Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Immigration Task Force. I am a lead co-sponsor of H.R. 15, the House comprehensive immigration reform bill.
I fight for immigration reform because I believe it is the civil rights issue of our time. But it is more than that. It is also a potential job-creating spark for high-tech industries. That's why Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Marissa Mayer back reform. Many in this room have called for reform because, right now, we are denying high-tech workers, who come to America to learn at the best institutions, the ability to contribute to the country that trained them to be the best. We are throwing talent away. We are self-inflicting brain drain. CES and CEA are testaments to the power of talent and entrepreneurship. But the race to attract and foster talent is not just local or national, it is global. Our immigration system should reflect that reality.
The United States became the global leader in innovation by attracting generations of individuals from around the world to adopt America as their home. Innovation requires a diversity of perspectives, and if Congress doesn't get the policy right, high-tech companies will do what they do best: find a way around the problem. They'll hire more engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists overseas. If Congress doesn't act, Washington will be complicit in the off-shoring of high-tech jobs and the slowdown of our tech industry here at home. I hope it doesn't come to that, and I do believe that in 2014, we will finally move forward on desperately needed immigration reform that will strengthen our tech industry.
Technology is not just a global industry, however, it is also a local one. Often, we can connect with individuals online across the globe with ease, while those in our own neighborhoods remain disconnected and offline.
I represent a congressional district that is extremely diverse, both geographically and demographically. I represent the urban core of North Las Vegas and tens of thousands of square miles of rural Nevada. I represent the poor in the city, the under-served in the country, and everyone in between.
In all parts of my district, constituents are calling out for access to services many take for granted. One, in particular, is access to broadband. Investment in broadband goes a long way: it creates jobs and provides better access to education, health care, and social services. It's why I've worked hard to secure funding for broadband projects in my district, and it's why we need to work together to make sure that investments in technology and infrastructure directly benefit all Americans. It is possible to close the digital divide if we continue to focus on bringing all individuals access to online services.
That is part of what is so exciting about CES. You unveil new technology that brings us closer together, and the competition and information sharing that comes out of this week makes products more affordable and more accessible. For constituents in my district, that is extremely important. While technology is always out there, it is critical that it remains within reach for those who need it most.
Looking ahead to the second half of the 113th Congress, there are many opportunities to work together to push consumer technology forward. This Congress passed the bipartisan Innovation Act of 2013. It was a great step to make sure patent trolls do not inhibit true entrepreneurs from developing their ideas.
Your President and CEO, Gary Shapiro, called the Innovation Act vote the "most important technology vote of 2013." In a rare showing of across-the-aisle common sense, Congress actually helped clear the way for real innovators to move their projects along. No more sitting on ideas and extracting licensing fees from companies that infringe on patents accidentally. The law requires specificity in lawsuits, makes patents transparent, keeps costs down, and protects end users. There are, no doubt, other areas of patent law that we need to review and improve as technology continues to change and new industries emerge.
On top of that, Congress will continue to work on cyber security, something I am familiar with as I sit on the House Homeland Security Committee, and Nevada will continue to work on developing our Unmanned Aerial Vehicle testing capabilities, as we were just selected as one of six sites by the Federal Aviation Administration
But as I said, my job is more about listening than speaking. At this time I'd like to take some questions from you and hear your thoughts about what Congress needs to address this upcoming year."
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